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Bipolar Disord. 2011 Aug-Sep;13(5-6):466-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-5618.2011.00944.x.

An online survey of tobacco use, intentions to quit, and cessation strategies among people living with bipolar disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California-San Francisco, 401 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0984, USA.



  Tobacco use is prevalent among people living with bipolar disorder. We examined tobacco use, attempts to quit, and tobacco-related attitudes and intentions among 685 individuals with bipolar disorder who smoked ≥ 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.


  Data were collected online through the website of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, a mood disorder peer-support network.


  The sample was 67% female, 67% aged 26 to 50, and 89% Caucasian; 87% were current smokers; 92% of current smokers smoked daily, averaging 19 cigarettes/day (SD=11). The sample began smoking at a mean age of 17 years (SD=6) and smoked a median of 7 years prior to bipolar disorder diagnosis. Among current smokers, 74% expressed a desire to quit; intent to quit smoking was unrelated to current mental health symptoms [χ(2) (3)=5.50, p=0.139]. Only 33% were advised to quit smoking by a mental health provider, 48% reported smoking to treat their mental illness, and 96% believed being mentally healthy was important for quitting. Ex-smokers (13% of sample) had not smoked for a median of 2.7 years; 48% quit 'cold turkey.' Most ex-smokers (64%) were in poor or fair mental health when they quit smoking. At the time of the survey, however, more ex-smokers described their mental health as in recovery than current smokers [57% versus 40%; χ(2) (3)=11.12, p=0.011].


  Most smokers living with bipolar disorder are interested in quitting. The Internet may be a useful cessation tool for recruiting and potentially treating smokers with bipolar disorder who face special challenges when trying to quit and rarely receive cessation treatment from their mental health providers.

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